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SGU Faculty Collaborate On Groundbreaking Cattle Vaccine Research

SGU Faculty Collaborate On Groundbreaking Cattle Vaccine Research

By Dr. Melinda Wilkerson

A group of scientists from St. George’s University, Kansas State University, and the Animal Diseases Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture have made a groundbreaking development in vaccine research with a new study conducted on cattle.

Bovine Anaplasmosis, a tick-borne disease, wreaks havoc on the cattle industry every year. It’s historically been treated with antibiotics, but in a new study published in PLOS Pathogens, another solution is presented.

“It’s a very significant pathogen. It causes weight loss, anemia, and even death in cattle which results in billions of economic losses in the cattle industry worldwide, whether it’s beef or dairy,” said Dr. Melinda Wilkerson, professor and chair of pathobiology in the School of Veterinary Medicine at SGU. “This group of researchers basically knocked out a gene that was important for growth so that they could immunize cattle.”

The technique is the first of its kind and has potential implications for treating infections in other animals like dogs, or even humans, who are also impacted by tick-borne diseases.

“The research found that when the cattle were exposed to the field organism through the vaccine, it was able to protect the animals from future exposure,” added Dr. Wilkerson. “That is very significant because any vaccines out now are ineffective. This is the start of a new method.”

Source : sgu.edu

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